Nigel Edwards QC and George Hazel-Owram, instructed by Eric Watson of Watson Woodhouse Solicitors, have recently successfully defended a man charged with the murder of his mother. After consideration of a great deal of complex medical evidence, the Prosecution were faced with no option but to accept a guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter by virtue of diminished responsibility. The defendant was thus acquitted of the more serious charge of murder.
The defendant was sentenced on Friday 12th July 2019. After the defence called evidence from a consultant psychiatrist, the sentencing judge was persuaded that the appropriate disposal in this case was a hospital order made in accordance with section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983. The prosecution had suggested that a hybrid hospital order, with a penal element, was more appropriate. Nigel Edwards QC and George Hazel-Owram successfully submitted that the hospital order under section 37 was both more appropriate to the defendant’s needs and would ultimately greater assist in the protection of the public. This submission meant that the defendant avoided the imposition of hybrid hospital order, the penal element of which would have encompassed a life sentence.